Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Stock up on patience before entering the Super King parking lot

Vehicles waiting to enter Super King parking lot.

When it comes to shopping for fresh produce and hard-to-find items, Joshua Siegel, the chef at  The Park restaurant in Echo Park, skips the farmers markets and heads directly to Super King, the Glassell Park supermarket stockpiled with all manner of Middle Eastern products and fresh produce.  But before you can get inside the San Fernando Road store to pick up blocks of feta cheese, zaatar spices and fava beans, customers must brave the overflowing Super King parking lot. In his most recent email newsletter, Siegel paints a picture of what to expect:

It all begins in the parking lot, if you can make it that far. The other day, I actually couldn’t get into the parking lot it was so full. You will find late model Mercedes parked next to ancient Toyotas. Scanning the parking lot you will see an ethnic mix that rivals the United Nations and it will be chaotic. Mostly you will see women, mostly older and you will think they are nice, but you need to have your wits about you. They will back their cars out right in front of you, they will cut you off with their shopping carts, they will block traffic into gridlock waiting for someone to leave a parking space. And they become even more aggressive once you actually get inside.

Unless you are in desperate need for grape leaves or tahini, avoid Thursday, when the start of weekly specials finds the Super King parking lot more crazed than usual and a line of waiting vehicles that spills out onto San Fernando Road and almost reaches the exit of the 2 Freeway

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  1. cool story bro

  2. It is sooooo worth it for the lemon roasted almonds at the NUT BAR!

  3. The thing that pleasantly surprised me the most about Super King was that despite the chaotic and overflowing parking lot, they had an army of checkers running and the lines were short and moved quickly. I’d always heard about how busy and chaotic the place was, so I expected a long wait when it came time to check out, and it wasn’t bad at all.

  4. What sucks is if you need to PASS the Super King entrance – to make the next Right. You can sit through 3 lights at their entrance before you can proceed. And when you finally get by, you have to keep your wits about you to avoid hitting people running back and forth across San Fernando.

  5. super king is insanely well-run by management. the customers are a different story. the parking lot requires a xanax. i still suck it up and go, when i’m feeling particularly zen and calm.

  6. it’s equally chaotic on Sunday afternoons (families come there after church) and Wednesday evenings when the special Wed. sales expire…the deli and meat departments will have ten or more people waiting (numbers in hand) and they’re always courteous.
    I don’t know the size of the Anaheim store–their first–but I know their third store in Altadena is much larger so I guess they’ve been testing the waters and growing the chain slowly.
    I used to shop Jon’s which has many of the same middle eastern/armenian/etc products but SK has so much more and I’ve just learned to shop at off times. I remember having to deal with manic Russian women at the Jon’s on Vermont but I’ve run into better manners here–esp since I try to smile at everyone–
    And while it could be easier (for me) to approach from the south on San Fernando, I’ve learned to take the 2 Fwy so I can get in the line and make the (easier) right turn into the lot.

  7. Also, the Super King has the biggest vodka selection outside of St. Petersburg. At least 5 rows high, 25 feet long, nothing but vodka, all shapes, flavors, brands. It’s a thing to behold.

    • Not only that, but this is by far the cheapest place to buy vodka. The first time I saw that aisle a few years ago I couldn’t believe it. The only problem is that Costco in Atwater is easier to park than this place.

  8. @kris10 – Hmm, I’m going to try those….

    @Gabriele – I might actually drive out to Altadena just to avoid the madness.

    It’s an experience that beckons the store to sell t-shirts that say something to the effect of “I survived the parking lot at Super King”…In fact, I boldly assert it’s more nuts to park there than Trader Joe’s on Hyperion and Fairfax combined. But it is a colorful mix of customers, nice checkers, good produce, and meat department with occasionally good sales on specialty liquor and coffee.

    • You will not regret trying the lemon almonds! My friends refer to them as “crack” almonds, they are so addictive.

      • OMG I love almonds. They’ve had raw ones there for as little as $1.99 & @ $2.99lb in their circular! Kinda wish you hadn’t told me about these lemon almonds! They sound like my next gourmet addiction! No, I’m glad you did and I’m gonna head there today! 🙂

  9. If the parking lot is this bad its because you are going at the wrong times.

  10. What’s a “Super King” I thought the King was the highest royal ranking.

    A King from Krypton perhaps.

  11. When I go shopping there, I stay in the left lane and pass Super King and its crowded parking lot, and I take the next left – just after the market – then make a u-turn onto the small street that runs parallel to San Fernando. I find parking there, or on the small street that runs perpendicular to San Fernando, and I walk across the street at the light. I manage to avoid the parking lot, and there’s usually some parking on those streets.

  12. Wow! Super King couldn’t buy this kind of advertisement!

    Hmmm. Or could they?

  13. What’s the best time to go to avoid the crazy parking lot chaos ??

  14. I once almost got killed in that parking lot by one of those old ladies. She was driving up one of the lanes, I had just parked and was walking from my car to the entrance – not in the middle of the lane, along the side – and she literally knocked me down with her giant, gas-guzzling SUV. She was going so fast that her bumper just hit me from behind and knocked me down. She wasn’t very sorry, either. Luckily no serious injuries, though I did skin both knees quite badly, ruined a good pair of jeans, and was pretty shaken up. I haven’t been back since, not worth the hassle, I don’t care how good the lemon-roasted nuts are!

    • I am from Glendale and something like this happened to me. Unless you are severely injured the police won’t even do anything about it either. Why do I know this? I am sure you can see the connection between crazy bad drivers, Glendale, and the Super King Market parking lot.

    • Wow I stopped shopping there two years ago when I was hit really hard in the but by a woman pushing (running with?) a shopping cart. Good thing she didn’t kill you. Seriously the only time that place isn’t crazy is 8pm Saturday night and thank god I at least ave enough of a life not to want to go to Super King then.

  15. Love King market, never had a problem with parking… back of the lot is always empty
    Just a few exits away from Echo park, can’t be beat

    I’d personally suggest going later on in the day

  16. It is so worth it, but only for the deli counter, fruits and veggies, nuts and liquor.
    Just be patient and prepare to wait! Once inside, its all cool!

  17. Super King has cheap product, not great product. There’s ALWAYS gnats and fruit flies buzzing around all the fruit there. Sure, they have low prices on poultry, beef, and seafood. Problem is, it’s all of super low quality. It is honestly not a grocery store where a chef who takes pride in quality ingredients should be purchasing meat or produce. Cutting corners like this does not make me want to go back to The Park.

  18. go about 830pm, they close at 9pm and everyone knows it so you have a good chance of missing the crowds.

  19. Golden Farms, up San Fernando road toward Burbank, seriously puts Super King to shame in every possible way. Also cheap, but beautiful and FRESH produce and herbs, no flies, and an unbelievably great selection of quality meat. Parking’s not a problem, either.

    • Really? have you seen the stress and unhappiness of the employees at GF? I agree selection is wider and that prices are comparable. Good management starts at the top. At SK you see the owners/managers walking the stores more concerned about their customers. At GF I saw the manager screaming at an employee and once I got completely ignored when I approached the manager/owner with a comment.

  20. It’s actually pretty irresponsible and incorrect for the Eastsider to advertise Super King as having “fresh produce.” If rotten peaches with flies buzzing around, frozen clams and shrimp and low-grade chicken is “fresh,” the person who wrote this article is literally stupid.

  21. I’ve been going to SK for years and found that early, early morning (before 8:00 a.m.) is the best time to go. Obviously, I can afford to go at those times, but I know many can’t do to their work schedules. I find ways to work around my schedule just so I can avoid that hellish parking lot and its terribly distracted drivers.

  22. I wouldn’t buy meat there, but their Bulgarian feta and hummus are to die for. Actually, I do eat the meat pies, so I guess I do buy meat there.

  23. Wunderkind Nicht

    Sundays after 7:00 PM, not that crowded.

  24. Those old ladies are even more aggressive inside the store. They have no problem ramming your body with their shopping cart if you’re in the way. You can’t beat super kings produce prices though.

  25. I went on wednesday but without luck, I decided to leave, there was no parking and people are too aggresive. Beside has only one entrance that is shared by entrance and exit. I can’t believe how the City hasn’t done anything every store supposedly needs two entrance as well the exits.

  26. there is a separate entrance (far right) and exit (far left).

  27. chris,
    you’re wrong they closed those.

  28. New shoppers should check out Mimi Pond’s illustrated LA Times tribute to Super King, in the archives.

  29. This used to be a Ralph’s when I moved to Mt. Washington in 2001. It was always empty! Maybe I’d see 2 customers at the most. Cannot believe the change! One for the worse was closing the the other parking lot entrance/exit near the front of the store off San Fernando. I wonder too how the fire department and the city of Los Angeles allows this? Not to mention inside capacity seems illegal. I love some of the items they carry, but I am nervous of a possible disaster there. It is too constrained.

  30. We love “Super Crowded”!

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